As many of you may already know, this has been a tragic Easter weekend that has mobilized civil society organizations to speak out against so-called "honour killings".
In the early hours of Sunday morning, Faten Habash died at the hands of her father, after being beaten repeatedly over the head, by what is believed to have been an iron bar. Her desperate cries drew people from the street, but they were too late and only her lifeless body greeted them.
This happened shortly after she had been returned to the family house from hospital, where she had spent a period of time recovering from a broken pelvis and various other injuries resulting from an earlier beating by her
father and other family members.
The reason for this violence? Faten’s insistence to marry a man that her parents did not approve of. She tried twice in the last month to elope to Jordan, but authorities returned her to the family home, where the tragic events unfolded that led to her premature death and added Faten to a long list of women who have been victims of family "honour".
Faten was buried yesterday. Women’s organizations attended the funeral and staged a quiet protest. Her family have refused to accept official condolences. A "azza" - condolences - for her has been organized by the Coalition of Organizations on Violence Against Women. Participants did not not only honour Faten herself, but are also helping to bring attention to this pressing issue and support civil society organizations that are trying to lobby for policies, laws and legislation that can protect Palestinian women everywhere.
This is particularly urgent with today’s breaking news about two sisters who have been found strangled in Jerusalem. "Honour" killing is suspected.
The third sister is in hospital. May be if public attention is shift to this situation, it can save this young woman from certain death.
According to the article published ont the 5th of may by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs in Al-Quds newspaper, in 2004 alone:
20 girls and women were murdered in the name of "family honour"
A further 15 women were victims of attempted murder
50 women committed suicide
The Ministry believes that these numbers do not show the full extent of the problem.
A special committee has been established to follow up on the issue of crimes carried out in the name of honour, facilitated by civil society organizations and with the support of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs.
To honour the victims, they are organizing:
Special prayers for Faten Habash on Friday 6 May 2005, 11:00 a.m. at the Latin Patriarchate Church in Ramallah.
A press conference on Saturday 7 May 2005 at 11:00 a.m. to be held at El-Bireh Municipality.
A silent march to set out on Saturday 7 May 2005 at 12:30 p.m. from Al-Manara (central Ramallah).
For more information or solidarity, contact with:
UNIFEM Programme Coordinator
mobile: 054 - 629 0024
ACSUR Las Segovias representative
Occupied Palestinian Territories and Israel
Tel / Fax. 972 (02) 583 76 48
Cellular. 972 (0)54 565 39 18